Who is the Real Sophia Walker?

When I first heard (on WNYC) about this Bill Eggler thing earlier this week I was intrigued. If you haven’t heard about it that’s OK. It’s not really big news. I could find no mention of it in my Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. I waited all week to see who would pick it up.

Bill Eggler was a New York State Assembly staff writer who defended Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in a web magazine called “The Last Goddess” -particularly in a blog that he penned under the pseudonym, Sophia Walker. I gather that Eggler used his alter ego for various attacks on many political enemies. The Green Goddess described itself as “fanatically pro-Democrat and rabidly anti-Republican”butThe New York Post exposed Eggler’s defense of Speaker Sheldon Silver’s authorization of a $103,080 to settle claims of sexual harassment by two defendants against Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez as a “faux scandal”. In the end, Eggler got his hand slapped and his internet privileges revoked. I tried to look up The Green Goddess but it has been closed down. If Eggler was smart enough to additionally set up a FaceBook or LinkedIn page for Sophia Walker, they are gone. All that is left are the real Sophia Walkers.

While this is not big news, it does have ramifications. What are the ethics of Blogging while at work? Is there something inherently dishonest about using the internet to have an alter ego –especially of another gender? What standards do we hold for those employees who are paid by tax payer dollars and should they be different from those in the private sector? What is this internet thing anyway?

Whether Eggler was right or wrong, I can only imagine his delight in experimenting with a chance to change persona and gender- all under the cover and the anonymity of the internet. I admit to doing it myself. Two years ago, I lost my muse (a real man) when I unfriended him for the third time and he would not take me back (please accept my apologies Snarky). I needed a plutonic man friend to read and adore everything that I wrote. My real muse reads all of my work but never really says anything. At the time, I figured that I could do it just as easily myself so I created Captn Portabello. I even asked my husband to friend him (but he said that the captain was a little weird for him). The Captn says “Hmmm” to everything and once in a while even posts something that is slightly risqué like this great find in a thrift store.

ledarhosen

When I first set up the Captn Portabello’s profile, Facebook was too new, and did not allow me to answer anything other than whether I was male or female. Now I understand that there are other options. I forget the password for the Captn and honestly it was too boring for me since I had full disclosure with everyone about who I was. Really I am much happier now that I have my muse again and the captain just waits in the wings .

While I have always given complete disclosure as to my identity, I am not sure that I can say the same for others. Sometimes I have a sneaking suspicion that, even here on OS, there are really only five real bloggers with several avatars. I once tried to set up the Captain on Open Salon but even with complete disclosure, one blogger was certain that I was really a man who wanted her to fall in love with me. That is when I realized that it is asinine to write under any other name for me. Slowly I am transferring my work to wordpress under my real name Laura Stinchcomb (there are more than one who write). Note to Egglers: The Captain would love to be your friend.

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About Laura Stinchcomb

Do you find the horrible funny? Do you find the funny horrible? I believe that funny is just a shade away from the truth. My writing may make you uncomfortable-even I squirm when I read it.

View all posts by Laura Stinchcomb

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